Diplomatic incident mars commemoration for Jasenovac victims

Diplomatic incident mars commemoration for Jasenovac victims Izvor: ELVIS BARUKCIC / AFP

A commemoration for the victims of the World War II Jasenovac concentration camp was held at Donja Gradina, on the Bosnia and Herzegovina side of the River Sava, and the event was overshadowed by Serb entity president Milorad Dodik's refusal to shake hands with US ambassador Maureen Cormack.

As last year, this year again Dodik chose not to greet the US ambassador while shaking hands with other foreign diplomats attending the commemoration.

Since 2017 Dodik has been on a U.S. black list as a person who poses a threat to peace ad security in Bosnia and Herzegovina by hampering the implementation of the Dayton peace agreement that put an end to the war in the country in 1995.

In an interview with N1 television earlier this week Cormack confirmed that Dodik was not a partner to the USA in Bosnia and Herzegovina because he questioned the country's territorial integrity. As for his behaviour at the ceremony at Donja Gradina, in the Serb entity, she said that she was not interested in who he had shaken hands with because she was there to pay tribute to the victims and not because of incumbent politicians.

This concentration camp reminds us of the horrible crimes that were committed during World War II and of fascism that caused those crimes that horrified the whole world, said Cormack.

In his speech at the commemoration, Dodik said that the Jasenovac concentration camp was a state project of the Independent State of Croatia for which no one had been called to account.

"We can never forget or forgive Jasenovac," he said, adding that the Serb victims of Jasenovac had been victims of their own fear as well as of "their illusions about their neighbours" with whom they once lived in a common state.

Dodik sees the Serb entity of Republika Srpska, which he described as "a state of the Serb people", as the main guarantee that something similar would not happen again.

"We will not be deluded into believing in the type of society that collapsed in the former Yugoslavia," he said.

Attending the commemoration on behalf of the Serbian government was Parliament Speaker Maja Gojkovic, who said that Serbia would not allow attempts to negate and justify the Jasenovac atrocities or their slide into oblivion.

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